Well, if you had “early February 2018” in the pool for when disgraced Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel was going to pitch his comeback — congratulations.
Johnny M. was booked on a national morning TV show last week to tell the world that he is contrite, sober and aware that he has no one to blame but himself. He’s ready to put in the hard work and hopes for a second chance.
The NFL yawned.
If you missed that interview, no worries. The 49ers’ Reuben Foster will almost surely be doing one soon. Because now, he really, really gets it.
Which is to ignore the laundry line of red flags that trailed both Manziel and Foster to the NFL and beyond. Ever notice how trouble just seems to follow some guys around? Other NFL players never crack the police blotter. Do you think it is just bad luck?
Because it looks more like a trend. And the fallback narrative … that they didn’t realize how serious this is … is nonsense.
No need to run through the crime sheet for Manziel. He’s done it all: missed meetings, abused drugs, been drunk and disorderly and committed domestic abuse. His own father said he feared Manziel wouldn’t live to “his 24th birthday.” When the Browns cut him the city of Cleveland, which once embraced him, cheered.
Foster doesn’t have as long a list, but it is troubling. Although not as serious as the alleged domestic abuse of his girlfriend, it is Foster’s marijuana bust in Alabama on Jan. 12 that sets the bar for entitled cluelessness.
Foster already blew the drug test at the NFL scouting combine, testing for a “diluted sample.” You can read that as you wish, but the NFL assumes it was a masking agent for drugs — a positive test.
You know what they say: It isn’t a drug test, it’s an intelligence test. You know the day you are going to be tested. You know you can’t have drugs in your system. And you blow it.
Testing positive automatically entered Foster into the league’s substance abuse intervention program. League policy is that a second marijuana violation triggers a fine that essentially amounts to two game paychecks. That’s steep.
Also, Joel Corry, a former NFL agent, said on the 49ers Insider Podcast that Foster could be out as much as $2.5 million.
Corry says Foster’s contracts for 2018 and 2019 are guaranteed, so he gets paid no matter what. But Corry said his contract probably has language in it saying the guarantees are off if he is fined by league for substance abuse.
Foster can still get the salary, but he has to make the team to earn it. So if he gets cut by the 49ers for whatever reason … no money.
It is the kind of penalty you’d think would grab a young player’s attention.
And, despite that, he gets pulled over on a Friday night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and is arrested for marijuana possession.
Now you’re going to say: big deal. Pot is legal in California.
Yeah, but not in Alabama. They think it is the gateway to heroin. And if anyone knows that it is Foster, whose hometown is Auburn.